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Bouncing back into shape

Quite like their favourite Hollywood stars, young mothers are getting their curves back within months after having a baby, reports Jaya Shroff.

health-and-fitness Updated: May 10, 2008, 22:57 IST
Jaya Shroff
Jaya Shroff

Mehr Malhotra, mother of two and going on third, is a model by profession who is not at all worried about losing her svelte figure. She knows that a good diet, long walks and some professional advice will ensure that she gets back into shape right after the delivery. She should know, she’s done it not once but twice before.

“I haven’t been modelling for the last two years, since I had my first baby, but not because I did not look like I did before the deliveries but because I didn’t have anybody at home to look after the kids,” says Mehr. Running after young Chaitanya, and managing the house helped her stay in shape. “Of course, along with looking after the two young ones, I was eating cautiously, drinking loads of water and doing light exercises at the gymnasium,” she adds. She plans to go back to fulltime modelling in about two years when her children are a little older.

Mehr did not give up any of the goodies while she was pregnant. “I used to gorge on a lot of laddoos, ice creams, chips and cookies. But post delivery, a lot of the craving went away but I still ate well as I was nursing my babies. While eating is important, one should ideally restrict the diet to fresh fruits and juices, vegetables and low fat food,” says Mehr, who is due to deliver her third child next month.

Similarly, Preeti Ghai, a Delhi-based fashion designer and mother of twins, got back into shape within six months of

delivery. “I got back my shape only because of yoga and a balanced diet. Yoga helped me relax and de-stress. Today, after a year of delivering my babies, I feel so much more confident when going for work,” she says. Preeti goes for yoga classes five days a week.

The magic mantra for a shapely body, say doctors, is being active both before and after the baby is born and eating a healthy and balanced diet.

“People generally believe they need to rest a lot before and after pregnancy. In a normal Indian household, this kind of inactivity in the name of rest is combined with a lot of rich food — ghee ladoos and a lot of dry fruits —which is very harmful,” says Dr Sheila Mehra, senior gynaecologist at Moolchand Woman’s Hospital.

Dr Mehra prescribes light activity pre and post delivery, which she says, is good for the baby as well as the mother. “In the West, women need to do all the household chores as soon as they get back home from hospital, but thanks to the readily available help here, women find it hard to shed weight,” she adds.

Healthy eating also helps shed unwanted flab. “Diet should include a lot of proteins and milk products but should be low in calories and fat. New moms should adopt a regular exercise programme which should include Keigles exercises (pelvic floor exercises),” says Dr Anuradha Kapoor, senior gynaecologist at Max Super Specialty Hospital, Saket.

“These exercises are important to prevent a prolapse in later years. Prolapse usually affects a woman in her 50s and 60s and causes the uterus to hang out and vaginal walls to become loose. There are added problems like stress incontinence, where you urinate while sneezing or coughing,” she warns.

Gynaecologists say that the situation is not as bad as it was a decade ago as more and more working moms are opting to lose weight before they can join back. You just need to visit a fitness or yoga centre to see that this is true — at least five in twenty women are new moms looking to get back into shape post-pregnancy. And they are ready to work hard to get what they want.

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